I pull Hershey Kisses out of my kids’ ears.
It wasn’t something that I saw coming. I suspect that no one sees those kinds of things coming.
One day there I was: standing on a stage in Paris, France, playing the electric guitar to a room full of gorgeous Euro-people, people who would soon buy me glasses of wine over at the bar. In the blink of an eye I had gone from standing in the right field grass picking my eleven-year-old nose under a blazing sun to rock musician far from home and bottled in a dream.
Now: here I am planning the best moment to waltz on over to my four-year-old daughter, Violet… whistle/whistle/whistle/ HO-HUM!/”Oh my! What’s this in your ear, little girl??!! Why look!” (I half shove the Kiss in her earhole and putz it around a little bit there so she can actually hear the sound of me pulling out a rustling sweet from inside her skull.)
“It’s a…..,” I let Violet take over.
She is smiling so much that I can’t help but feel like a freaking Super Hero here. It’s the feeling I have chased pretty much all my life: adoration. I wanna be adored. Hell, we all do and if you say you don’t you’re full of it.
Her twinkling eyes fix on my fingertips exactly the way she has fixed ’em like 85 times in the last week or so. We have been doing this a lot. I am addicted to the rush, I guess. And Violet and her little brother, they are hooked on all this too. We are the Hershey Kiss gang, junkies for the momentary highs that come with the kind of simple pretend magic that defines the best-lived lives.
“IT’SAHERSEEZKISS!” Violet cries out, playing her role perfectly, the same way that Daniel Day
Lincoln Lewis would play it if he was playing a four-year-old chocoholic who believes in the power of the candy shop behind her brown eyes. There is no doubt about any of this in my daughter’s thoughts and ,therefore, the thing is true to me, too.
Her dad pulls Hershey Kisses out of her noodle.
It is what it is.
But I ain’t the first and I know it. There have been a lot of Candy Pullers down through the years and a select few still remain, too, although more often than not they are usually older than me, more experienced and wiser; dudes who have studied at the generic tennis shoes of the Old Masters …from Root Beer Barrel Sid and Butterscotch Al, Penny Candy Pete and Jawbreaker Jim.
The corner candy shops are mostly gone now. And so are the small brown bags filled with red Swedish fish or little Tootsie Rolls that old lonely men kept tucked back behind their transistor radios on ancient kitchen tables in homes where Doris’s and Dot’s once ran the slow ship.
Still, traditions survive and the old ways tend to persevere and last a little longer than we ever think they will, mostly because people aren’t all that different across the years, across the decades and even the centuries, I guess.
Grown men cut of a certain cloth will always want to thrill a little kid given half a chance.
And if and when kids stop liking small hunks of chocolate or the kind of magic that seems so fake that it just has to be real, well, let’s just say I don’t want to be around for those days.
Luckily for me, everything fell into place just perfectly.
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